Conjunctival hyperemia

Seeing Red: What is Conjunctival Hyperemia?

Conjunctival hyperemia is an common eye disorder, often characterized by a red, congested appearance in the conjunctiva. It can be caused by a variety of irritations, including allergies, an infection of the eye, overuse of contact lenses, air pollution, dryness, and certain medical treatments for other eye infections. The condition can range from mild to severe, so it's important to understand the root cause in order to effectively manage the problem.

What Are The Symptoms of Conjunctival Hyperemia?

The most noticeable symptom of conjunctival hyperemia is visible redness in the whites of the eyes. It may appear as a few small red dots or as an allover redness. Other possible symptoms may include:

  • Itching or burning of the eyes
  • Excessive tearing
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Discomfort or pain in the eyes
  • Blurry vision

What Causes Conjunctival Hyperemia?

As mentioned earlier, conjunctival hyperemia can be caused by numerous sources. Here are some of the most common:

  • Allergies - Allergens such as pollen, dust, pet dander and certain cosmetics can cause the eyelid and conjunctiva to become inflamed and swollen. This can cause the eyes to become red and irritated.
  • Irritation of the Eye - The eyes can become irritated from air pollution, dryness, smoke, and contact lenses, causing redness, itchiness, and a gritty feeling.
  • Infection - Bacterial or viral infections can cause the conjunctiva to swell, resulting in redness of the eyes.
  • Medications - Certain medications, including glaucoma medications, can cause the eyes to become red and inflamed.

How Is Conjunctival Hyperemia Diagnosed and Treated?

In order to diagnose conjunctival hyperemia, your doctor will conduct a thorough eye examination. Your doctor may also use special tests, such as a slit lamp exam, to look for signs of infection. Treatment for conjunctival hyperemia will depend on the underlying cause. In cases of allergies, antihistamines may be prescribed to reduce inflammation. For irritation of the eye, ointments or artificial tears may be recommended. Infection may require antibiotics, and certain medications may need to be modified or discontinued.

If you are experiencing symptoms of conjunctival hyperemia, it is important to see your doctor as soon as possible. The condition is normally harmless, but if left untreated it can lead to further complications.